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The most overlooked, however, and perhaps the most important of all the culturally created bone'depleting factors is known as "diet-induced chronic, low-grade metabolic acidosis." In other words, our nutrient'deficient and imbalanced diet produces an excess of acids in the body that damages and, in effect, "eats away" our bones.

Cynthia Ramona Morgan, MD
(305) 773-3744
9347 SW 219th St
Miami, FL
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Medical School: Rush Med Coll Of Rush Univ, Chicago Il 60612
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Richard Chang
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Jaime A Pachon, MD
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Rawan H Jumean
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South Miami, FL
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Jaime A Pachon
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Richard L Chang, MD
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Miami, FL
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Medical School: Univ Of Miami Sch Of Med, Miami Fl 33101
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Eric Andrew Sheldon, MD
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Medical School: Tulane Univ Sch Of Med, New Orleans La 70112
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Jose Ramon Rovira, MD
(305) 552-5354
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Miami, FL
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Medical School: Univ Of Miami Sch Of Med, Miami Fl 33101
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Roberta R Slonim
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Coral Gables, FL
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Are Your Bones Running on Empty?

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By Susan E. Brown, PHD, CNS

Despite our society’s seemingly obsessive focus on calcium intake, studies repeatedly show that the cultures with the highest dairy consumption, and thus the highest calcium intake, exhibit the greatest incidence of osteoporotic fracture. This observation has led to the identification of a mysterious “international calcium paradox.” How is it that in the U.S. 1,000 to 1,500 mgs or more of calcium daily are considered necessary for maintaining bone health, while many other populations maintain strong bones with a calcium intake of 400 mg or less?

It turns out that calcium intake is only part of the equation, and that an appropriate dietary reference intake (DRI) for a given population depends on coexisting dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors. These include the balance between the total intake of other nutrients and the consumption of potentially bone-damaging substances such as excess salt, protein, alcohol, tobacco, fat, processed foods and sugar. The use of certain bone-depleting medications, the lack of sunlight, the presence of environmental toxins and even stress have deleterious effects on bones.

The most overlooked, however, and perhaps the most important of all the culturally created bone-depleting factors is known as “diet-induced chronic, low-grade metabolic acidosis.” In other words, our nutrient-deficient and imbalanced diet produces an excess of acids in the body that damages and, in effect, “eats away” our bones.

This occurs because our biological systems are genetically hard-wired to maintain the body’s chemical balance—its slightly alkaline pH level—at all costs to ensure minute-to-minute survival. And when we consume a diet high in acid-forming substances and fail to supply the body with sufficient base, or acid-neutralizing nutrients such as potassium, it goes in search of the next available sources. It looks first in the bloodstream, then to the cells and tissues, and then to its rainy-day alkali reserves in the bones.

Bones and the Defense of the Acid-Alkaline Balance
You likely know that bone stores the vast majority of the body’s three-plus pounds of calcium. When blood calcium declines to dangerous levels, the body draws calcium out of the bones to replenish it. If the body withdraws more calcium from bone than it deposits, over time it depletes the bones’ reserves, and the resultant loss of bone mass leads to osteoporosis. But bone also holds most of the body’s essential alkali reserves. These mineral compounds take the form of alkalizing calcium salts and are capable of buffering, or detoxifying, acids. They stand by in the blood, body fluids, cells, tissue and bone to buffer any excess acids produced by the body’s biochemical workings—neutralizing them through spontaneous biochemical reactions that keep the acids from accumulating.

A diet that balances base- and acid-forming foods maintains the body’s systemic pH balance. If acid-forming foods predominate, however, as i...

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